In January 2018, Judge James Robart declared the City of Seattle to be in “full and effective compliance” with the Consent Decree the city and the DOJ signed with regard to biased policing. That declaration kicked off a two-year “sustainment period” in which the city is required to remain in compliance, and show it is doing so through a scheduled series of audits and other reports.
Now that the federal shutdown is over, U.S. District Court Judge James Robart is restarting his review of the new collective bargaining agreement with SPOG, as well as the arbitrator’s ruling reinstating Officer Adley Shepherd.
This morning Judge James Robart, who presides over the city’s consent decree with the DOJ over biased policing, issued an order granting the DOJ more time to file its brief. But he also ordered the city to hand over several additional documents that dive into the details of the SPD disciplinary/appeals process and the recently-signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the police officers’ union.
In the aftermath of Judge James Robart’s bombshell order earlier this week asking the City of Seattle and the DOJ to explain why he shouldn’t find that the city has fallen out of compliance with the Consent Decree, today
both parties jointly asked Robart to amend his order and allow more time for briefings to be filed. the DOJ asked Robart, with the city’s assent, to allow more time for it to file its briefing.
Last Friday, the City of Seattle filed an official notice with the U.S. District Court that it had negotiated and ratified a new labor agreement with Seattle’s police officers. Judge James Robart, who oversees the Consent Decree, had previously signaled that he would not weigh in on the merits of the new contract until it was properly before his court. But now that it is, he wasted no time in making his thoughts known: this morning he issued an “Order to Show Cause” why he should not find that the city has failed to maintain full and effective compliance with the Consent Decree.
This afternoon Judge James Robart held a status conference with the parties in the consent decree between the city and the Department of Justice over police misconduct. The issue at hand: now that the city has negotiated a new police contract, how and when to put that in front of Robart for his blessing.
(this article has been heavily modified since it was first published earlier this evening)
This afternoon was the deadline for briefs to be filed by the City of Seattle, the DOJ, the CPC, and other relevant parties related to the tentative labor contract with SPOG, the police officers’ union. Instead, the parties asked Judge Robart to give them until November 2, since he already agreed last week to move a scheduled status conference out to November 5. Robart didn’t respond, so the parties burned the midnight oil and got their briefs in anyway. Also, Inspector General for Public Safety Lisa Judge and OPA Director Andrew Myerberg both sent letters last Friday to the City Council with their feedback on the tentative contract.
Today Judge James Robart, the judge overseeing implementation of the consent decree over biased policing by SPD, scheduled a status conference for next Thursday, November 1, to discuss the tentative contract with Seattle police officers.
Last week a fight broke out between the Community Police Commission (CPC) and the Mayor’s Office over the tentative collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with SPOG, the police officer’s union. In the days since the CPC voted last Wednesday to urge the City Council to reject the contract, I’ve talked to both sides to try to understand their perspectives on the contract.
What became clear very quickly is that we can’t understand the CBA without first understanding the legal context surrounding it. Here’s what I’ve learned, and what I think it means for the city’s negotiations with SPOG. Caveat: I am not a lawyer. I am sure those who are will send me notes on where they think my analysis is wrong, and I will do my best to understand their points and update this post to make it more accurate.